Greeting Cards

By Rosie Moore

There is a host of greeting cards, the most common commemorating birthdays, get-well greetings,  sympathy, plus almost any kind that you would want to pass on to others. The custom of sending cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese who exchanged messages of good news to celebrate the New Year and to the early Egyptians who portrayed their greetings on papyrus scrolls. By the early 1400s handmade paper greeting cards were being exchanged in Europe. The Germans are known to have printed New Year’s greetings from woodcuts as early as 1400, and the handmade paper Valentines were being exchanged in various parts of Europe in the early to mid-1400s.

Louis Prang, a German immigrant who started a small lithographic business near Boston in 1856, is generally credited  with the start of the greeting card industry in America. Within ten years of founding his firm he had perfected the color lithographic process to a point where his reproductions of rare paintings surpassed those of other graphic arts craftsmen in both the United States and Britain. In 1870 he began publishing deluxe editions of Christmas cards and in 1875 he introduced the  first  complete line of Christmas cards to the American public.

By the 1950s the “studio card”- a long card with a short punchline appeared on the scene to  firmly establish the popularity of humor in American greeting cards. Growth of electronic technology and burgeoning  consumer use of the Internet gave birth to the electronic or E-card. Also, now-a-days, there are musical cards.

Why I became interested in this subject is because in this month of August I am busy buying birthday cards, one for two daughters, one for a granddaughter, and one for a  great-grandson. Hallmark is glad to see me. Also, I have four cards to buy in September. Years ago the sayings on cards were simple, such as: “May peace and happiness be with you on your birthday,” and “Hope your birthday’s full of fun, cause you grow nicer with each one.” My favorite one that I received one year is called: “Senior Birthday Prayer: God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, The good fortune to run into the ones I do, And the eyesight to tell the difference.”

That says it all!

Thought for the day: As we  grow old, the beauty steals inward.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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